The Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Tower lifeboat crew raced against the rising tide on Monday to save two men who had fallen 25 foot from the River Thames wall onto the exposed riverbed below in Woolwich.
One of the men had suffered spinal injuries in the fall.
The RNLI crew launched from their base next to Waterloo Bridge at 6.44 PM on Monday 4th of May after the Coastguard had received a 999 call for help.
They arrived at the scene within minutes to find the men were being treated by paramedics on the foreshore of the south side of the river, about 200 metres upriver from the Woolwich ferry terminal.
The crew worked together with paramedics, using their training and expertise to place the injured man onto a spinal board as swiftly as possible.
But they were soon cut off by the rising tide.
Once the man was secure on the spinal board, the RNLI crew brought him, the other injured man, the police and the paramedics onto the lifeboat and took everyone to Woolwich Arsenal Pier.
There they were met by a London Ambulance Service crew.
A video of the rescue can be seen below:
RNLI lifeboat helmsman Mick Neil said:
It appeared the two men were on a night out when one of them went over the handrail and fell about 25ft onto the exposed river foreshore below, injuring his spine. His friend then slid down the vertical river wall in attempt to help him, suffering cuts, bruises and an injury to his ankle.
We arrived to find the Met Police already on scene followed by London Ambulance Service. From the start the rescue was time critical as the rising tide was rapidly covering the area of ground we were all on. Initially the water was at his ankles but it quickly got up to his knees.
As always with suspected spinal injuries you have to be very careful when moving someone. He was conscious throughout but in a lot of pain.
The RNLI lifeboat crew were then stood down and made their way back to Tower lifeboat station, ready to respond to the next call for help.
Tower is the busiest lifeboat station in the RNLI, having been launched 543 times in 2014 alone, and rescuing 104 people and saving 16 lives on the River Thames.